Category syndication

Simon Rumble writes:

I quite enjoy the various Planets I read because I get to read more about people. I read about their cats, their struggles with the landlord, their healthy problems, all kinds of stuff.


Of course, the shadowy cabal who run Planet Linux Australia clearly don’t agree with this thinking, [as demonstrated] by silently dropping all of my blog except the geek category.

[I believe the cabal in question is still entirely comprised of LA’s very own shadowy underworld evil genius, Michael Davies, for what it’s worth.]

I generally concur with Rumble’s sentiments within certain limits that I won’t go into here extensively, save to note that there’s different genres of blogging and actually, not all of them do work on a Planet. There’s a certain level of formality, a certain level of curiosity and a certain level of detail that makes for a geek’s blog — even when they write about cats or landlords — and I do notice when there’s a syndicated blog that is substantially out of genre and it does bug me. (Even when the blog in question is a good example of its own genre.)

This is part of the reason that I generally choose to have my short, whiny, chatty, half-geeky thoughts section syndicated, and never my diary section. It is out of genre, mostly because individual entries are far too long for Planets (the most frequent comment I receive on it these days is well, it’s good writing and all, but I don’t read twenty paragraph stuff online), but for another reason also, which is that I don’t really want it publicly criticised. It’s not a dialogue. I’m happy to take email input on what wireless audio device to buy, but I don’t really want or expect anything other than very neutral commentary on what I put in the diary section, not much more than sounds like you had fun or similar.

In particular, geek blogs are very commonly assumed to be in a genre where unless quite strongly specified otherwise, the poster is assumed to be asking for advice or a critical take, much like a posts to a user mailing list for a software project. There are reasons I’ve written about my day-to-day life online for over seven years, yes, and I am aware that by doing so I at any time could suddenly receive one hundred thousand emails and discover a thousand blog posts containing nothing but kindly advice concerning and stinging criticism of my every sentence. And what’s more, I’d probably deal with it fine. Well, relatively! But it’s not the genre I intend, and so I don’t feel comfortable having it syndicated on a Planet any more than I would, say, fiction or poetry I wrote, even though in practice I’m sure none of those things would horribly jar Planet readers.